Think Before You Schedule: when tweeting ahead sets you behind.

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   “Twitter is not a technology. It’s a conversation. And it’s
happening with or without you.” – @charleneli Co-author, Groundswell

Remember in school when all your teachers use to say, “Always make sure you plan ahead!” or my personal favorite, “Don’t forget to write this in your agenda!” Well, I want you take that advice and put it on the shelf for a second. Forget all the times when you were told that scheduling or planning things in advance is always a good idea.

Enter the scheduled tweet. There are numerous debates surrounding the issue of scheduled tweets. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Twitter world, corporations, bloggers, and other social media addicts have the ability to use a third-party platform to schedule specific times for releasing a tweet. Why would they, you ask? Excellent question.

For the communications person on the other end of that twitter page, daily life in the office might be a bit chaotic. When it comes time for releasing a blog post, or sending out a reminder regarding the launch of a new product, sometimes a company will try to save time by scheduling a tweet. Supporters of the scheduled tweet believe that it’s time effective, and they can hit peak hours to drive traffic to their website.

Of course, this is quite a debated topic. In an effort to not remain on the fence for this issue, here is why I think scheduling tweets is never a good idea:

  • You lose personal contact. Twitter was created as a method for communicating in real-time. The inherent structure of the platform is set up as a “live-feed” through which individuals can interact with other users. Scheduling tweets removes the personal from the platform.
  • It’s not a secret, and you will be caught. More often than not, an avid twitter user can spot a scheduled tweet in an instant. If you’re looking to drive conversation between your target audience and your products/services, scheduling tweets will only make your company seem robotic.
  • The awkwardly placed tweet amidst a crisis. On multiple occasions, corporations have been caught in the middle of a crisis with an oddly placed tweet. Note: if you’ve schedule tweets, be aware of what’s going on in the news and remember when you have a tweet set for release.
  • It can, and will tarnish your reputation. Many companies have been caught amidst a crisis with poor timing and language. The insensitivity towards current events due to a scheduled tweet will not be a legitimate excuse for your public audience.

I decided to cover this topic mainly because it was prevalent in the news this past week. Also, it will remain a hotly debated topic for as long as Twitter exists. In order to avoid insensitive remarks due to untimely tweets, I urge you to use Twitter like an ongoing conversation.

What are your thoughts on scheduling tweets? Join in on the debate by sounding off below, or join in on the conversation via Twitter @Sam__Dickson

- S.

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